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Careful: D.C. Statehood – moves in Congress, history, etc.

See also DC Statehood Green Party press releases & other lit on DC democracy:

(excerpt from) Undernews
Democrats Ready to Play Games With The Capital Colony

(The full article, at the link above, provides an excellent time line on the history of the DC struggle.)
5 January 2009

The Democrats are preparing to gain some easy points by giving the capital colony, DC, a vote in the House – carefully balanced by a new one for GOP Utah. Most of what you will read about this issue will be wrong, so here’s a guide to the reality of the matter we did a few years back,, outlining the difference between true democracy for DC and the token House seat.

What is the basic difference?

Representation in Congress would increase DC’s political power somewhat but would not affect any of the basic colonial precepts under which the city is governed. For example, the federal government would still:

— have plenary power over all aspects of local governance

— control the budget

— control the prosecution and adjudication of, as well the imprisonment for, crimes.

— have the power to deny the city a commuter tax

— be able to pass laws in contravention of the will of DC citizens

In other words, even with representation, DC would remain a full colony of the US, just as Algeria was before it gained independence even though it had representation in the French National Assembly.

Short of a highly improbable constitutional amendment, the only ways to gain full democracy by making DC residents equal to other Americans are statehood, retrocession to Maryland, or joining it to some other state.

Isn’t representation a stepping stone to democracy?

Theoretically yes, but in practice not. The granting of a vote in the House would essentially bury the DC colony issues for years to come.

3 Responses

  1. “6. That elections of members to serve as representatives of the people, in assembly, ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for publick uses without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented, for the publick good.”

    Virginia Bill of Rights, June, 1776

    Washington DC has been “Governed Without Consent” since 1801

    Each citizen of the fifty states elects and is represented by one Congressional representative and two Senators.

    Equality, Nothing More. Equality, Nothing Less.

    • KW:

      Thanks CitizenW.

      I find the current situation confusing. Because, the problem seems that some people want something, and some want all or nothing. What position are you advocating for in your comment? I was not clear, I think because I am confused about the underlying strategies being presented.

  2. As a resident of DC, I have to say, quite frankly, it is NOT really OUR Constitution anymore. We have not had an opportunity to participate in amendments 12-27 (since 1801). It is NOT our Congress, we have no vote and precious little voice (since 1801). They are NOT EVEN our Courts; we have had not say in their staffing or operations for over 200 years (since 1801). We have in effect been evicted from our own native land, and we want back IN!

    I respectfully suggest that it is not in the long-term interest of this country, nor is it in any way compatible with the principles on which this nation was founded, to continue to exclude, alienate, and disillusion the population of this nation’s capital. If you recall, the original Constitution, in spite of “all men are created equal”, counted non whites as three-fifths of whites for roughly the first fifty years (say 1770-1820); black men were not allowed to vote (and then reluctantly in many cases) until 1870; women were not allowed to vote until (after who-knows-how-many bedroom skirmishes) 1920; 18-20 year olds were sent to war but not allowed to vote until 1970. All of these recognized deficiencies in our Constitution have been, over time, remedied. An additional deficiency has been identified and needs to be remedied. Catch 22 is that DC denizens cannot petition their representatives to correct this deficiency because they HAVE none.

    In 1978 Congress passed an amendment and sent it to the states for ratification that would have made DC a state. Only 16 of the necessary 38 states ratified. In 2000 DC’s complaint was heard by the Supreme Court (Adams v. Clinton) and the response was basically “Go away, kid, ya BOTHER me!

    If the supreme law of the land becomes destructive toward the lives, liberties, and pursuit of happiness of the people, ” it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    The Virginia Bill of Rights (written by George Mason, instrumental in our Bill of Rights, and mentor to, among others, Jefferson and Madison) says, in Article 6:

    “That elections of members to serve as Representatives of the people, in Assembly, ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for publick uses without their own consent or that of their Representative so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented, for the publick good.”

    Do we still believe that, or do we not?

    Madison and Mason (and others) recommended “frequent recurrence to fundamental principles” as we refine our Constitution over time “in order to form a more perfect Union.”

    DC denizens remind our fellow countrymen, as the colonists reminded the British, that
    “Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our [American] brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our …settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf [so far] to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.”

    The District Clause strongly resembles the Declaratory Act of 1766; each was an attempt by a national legislature to arrogate absolute power over an unrepresented minority of the nation.

    Mr. and Mrs. America: The ball is apparently in YOUR Court (so to speak), Ladies and Gentlemen!

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